Local firm’s ‘protection’ of Nepali migrants faces scrutiny

PETALING JAYA: A Malaysian firm is said to have entered into a questionable agreement to provide “protection and welfare” services for Nepali migrant workers hired in Malaysia, collecting a fee of US$45 (RM200) for each worker.

According to the agreement, which is said to have been signed by an official of the Foreign Employment Board of Nepal and a managing director of the firm, which is described as a “welfare-oriented” company in the document, the one-time fee will be collected from Nepali workers’ employers.

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The firm had the responsibility of providing services to Nepali workers who were without documentation, detained by Malaysian authorities, or had fled their employers.

It also requires Nepali workers in Malaysia to be registered under its digital platform, called the Digital Welfare Monitoring System (DWMS), that will be developed by the firm.

The Malaysian firm was also required to develop a geo-tracking mobile app to track down the whereabouts of Nepali workers who absconded.

The mobile app will include a feature that will allow Nepali workers to lodge complaints and seek help.

Other responsibilities or services that the company will provide include legal advice and assistance for cases involving Nepali workers in the various courts and cases related to immigration offences.

Speaking under the condition of anonymity, the firm’s managing director said the implementation has been put on hold due to protests by several recruitment agencies.

He said the agreement was only between the company and the Nepali government and did not involve the Malaysian government.

However, labour groups and industry players said they were in the dark about the agreement that took effect on Jan 1.

Security Industry Association of Malaysia (PIKM) Selangor chapter chairman Datuk Dr S. Prabakaran said so far there has been no announcement from the Nepal Embassy on the purported agreement..

“Three weeks ago, we had a meeting with the Nepal embassy, and they did not touch on this,” he said, adding that he would seek clarification from the embassy.

Nepali migrant labour rights activist said the extra fees for “protection and welfare” of Nepali workers in Malaysia will only pave the way for labour exploitation.

He said other Nepali community leaders based in Malaysia will meet with the ambassador to protest the decision.

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